Iridescent Wings of a Hoverfly

January 22, 2021

Firfly wings

Photographer: Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego 
Summary Authosr: Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego; Jim Foster

The photo above shows a long hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta) pollinating a flower in a garden near Merida, Spain. Even in late November, when this photo was captured, these flies are active pollinators when weather conditions are favorable. Note its gauzy, iridescent wings. The pastel coloration results from diffraction of sunlight rather than pigment permeation. In essence, the ultra-thin wings act to broaden dispersed sunlight, causing colors to overlap.